Nine Dragons Hidden in Clouds 【九龍隱雲】, as known as The Convergence of Dragons and Clouds【龍雲契會】are the most infamous two painted ceilings of Vietnam: one residing in Tomb of Khải Định, one residing in Diệu Đế temple. Both are cultural heritages of the Imperial City of Hue.
The mausoleum’s ceiling was accomplished by the reputable court artist Phan Văn Tánh【潘文性】(constructed from 1920-1931), who exceptionally completed the artwork using all of his hands and legs in an extraordinary horizontal position. Each dragon is depicted uniquely in different concentration leaping amidst the auspicious clouds creating such an enchanting picture. The nine dragons altogether soar to the entire 3 ceilings of Khải Thành Hall【啓成殿】and Thiên Định Palace【天定宮】, akin to an ink wash painting. Legends say the paint mixture is so miraculous that the ceilings are apparently cobweb-proof and have never faded despite its almost-100-year existence. This peculiar feature has been left unsolved for decades. On the contrary, the temple’s one (constructed from 1953-1955) evokes a more elegant and lissom aspect of the same concept: 5 dragons gently piercing layers of clouds on the ceiling with another 4 crawling along 4 pillars of the main hall. This modified masterpiece was constructed under the supervisor of Hòa thượng Diệu Hoằng 【妙弘和尚】with the help of fund-rising by Empress Dowager Đoan Huy【德慈宮-端輝皇太后】, the actual artist behind this piece remains unidentified.
The said two masterpieces have inspired a completely new sub-collection, included in “Annam Heritage” and exclusive to BARO, which exploits the richness of Vietnamese mythology, folktales about supernatural spirits, fiends and monsters. Eventually, the design “Convergence of Dragons and Clouds” has marked its debut right in the Ghost Festival of 2020.